HARLEM — Blake Miller knew he had some trouble with command and that he had a lead.
However, the Cross Creek pitcher had no idea he still hadn’t surrendered a hit as he walked to the mound in the bottom of the seventh.
Miller couldn’t complete the no-hitter, but the Razorbacks baseball team still beat Harlem, 7-2, Saturday. Miller allowed two hits – both in the seventh inning – and battled through six walks and three hit batsmen to earn the win.
“He’s a competitor,” Cross Creek coach Tavis Cummings said. “He never gives in and he hates to fail.”
Miller struggled with control, but he was successful in inducing outs, as three of the first four outs were grounders back to him. Fittingly, the last out was recorded the same way, with two Bulldogs on base.
Cross Creek got all the offense it needed in a five-run third. The Razorbacks batted around in the inning, and needed only two hits to break open the game.
Bulldogs pitcher Chaise Dukes struck out eight, but he also walked the same number. That, in part, helped Cross Creek score a run without having the ball land safely in the outfield. After David Gullikson was hit by a pitch, Jesse Carroll laid down a perfect bunt that stopped right on the line. A walk then loaded the bases for Miller. The senior hit the ball hard enough to make it difficult for the second baseman to handle it cleanly as a run scored.
Mark Slade then doubled to left to plate two more runs for Cross Creek (1-1). A walk and a sacrifice pushed the score to 5-0.
Each team scored two times after that, with Bryson Serigney’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh giving the Bulldogs (1-5) some life. But after Harlem appeared to make a push by getting the first two to reach, Miller got the final three outs needed to get the victory.
He got help from his defense, especially from Matthew Avret at second. Avret got in front of well-struck grounders, caught a liner to start a double play and also just beat the runner with a throw in the seventh
“The defense was great,” Miller said. “A lot of the balls were hit hard.”